Treatment of poor Callinan is quite simply unbelievable
Published 03/09/2015 | 02:30
Breaking news. Alarming reports are emerging that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan no longer exists formally. Everything with his name on it has been expunged from the official record.
Birth certificate - vanished. School reports - vanished. Marriage certificate - vanished. Tax number - vanished. Garda record - vanished. Letter of resignation - vanished. Passport - vanished. Driver's licence - vanished. Bank records - vanished. Household bills - vanished. Shop loyalty cards - vanished. Library card - vanished.
Someone acting with malicious intent appears to have collected everything which confirmed his existence and evaporated it.
This is a human rights abuse, an intolerable violation of his right to be.
How precisely his personal records were eradicated is disputed. Some say they were shredded, others that they were incinerated, while still others suggest they were buried in an unmarked location in the Bog of Allen. An unconfirmed rumour about his data being dissolved in acid is also circulating.
But what's beyond doubt is that there can be just one purpose to such sinister actions. Mr Callinan has been designated a non-person.
Is this any way to treat a man who devoted his life to public service, and to upholding the rule of law?
We must show solidarity and demand his reinstatement as a person. Give him back his data. Vaporising it must surely be illegal. It smacks of subversive forces operating within the framework of the State.
Also shredded - bizarrely at his own direction - were some 10 refuse sacks containing important information from his period as Garda Commissioner.
He did not allow sentiment to distract him during that difficult day of final farewells. Conscious of his duty to the end, he made a beeline for a filing cabinet in the conference room, where his personal papers were stored, and placed files which he considered significant into black bin bags.
The files are believed to have included his 2013 diary - a little black book (or it may be a little red book) fast attaining cult status. It's also possible they consisted of papers detailing his commendably close relationship with then Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
An item verging on iconic status is the missing mobile phone SIM card with its record of texts between Mr Callinan and Mr Shatter, but that was not deposited in the bags. Instead, Mr Callinan took it home and placed it in his sock drawer for extra security - a vain precaution, alas, as it spontaneously combusted.
Regrettably, these are not isolated incidents. Data relating to Mr Callinan is not the only information unavailable. AWOL, too, is paperwork regarding an interesting meeting between the Taoiseach and one or two members of the Cabinet (the others were too busy filling in potholes in roads in their constituencies to attend).
At this meeting on March 24, the day before Mr Callinan's lamentable resignation, the Taoiseach considered how best to reward our esteemed garda chief for his no-nonsense treatment of the whistleblowers.
As you may recall, those mischievous whistleblowers were determined to destabilise the force with unsubstantiated drivel - penalty points quashed as a favour, and other such spurious examples of the law being selectively applied.
Fortunately, Mr Callinan demonstrated the full extent of his leadership capabilities by refusing to accept their complaints.
A grateful Enda Kenny despatched the Department of Justice's secretary-general to Mr Callinan's home, to pay homage on the Government's behalf for his exemplary handling of the whistleblower issue.
An inquiry was made as to whether Mr Callinan preferred a pay rise, or a medal in his honour awarded annually at the Garda College in Templemore.
Disaster! Those notes from the March 24 meeting are also missing. Staff at the Office of the Taoiseach are attempting heroically to minimise the fallout by advancing the theory that no record was ever made. But such a scenario is implausible. Why, it would mean the principle of democratic accountability being flouted by Mr Kenny, which defies belief.
After all, the Taoiseach has never hidden his disapproval that no notes, not even on a Post-it, were taken on the night of the bank guarantee. So it would be far-fetched to suggest he'd ever allow similar slackness at any meeting he chaired.
But back to Mr Callinan. Consider his distress as he is forced to watch the Fennelly report with knowledge gaps.
After all, no senior garda would do anything to betray the trust placed in him or her by the Irish people - they'd understand that such behaviour was incompatible with their duty to the State and to the uniform they wear.
Martina Devlin's latest novel 'About Sisterland' is published this week